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Why do some songs by Earl Scruggs have very similar names?

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Jan 15, 2020 - 5:02:46 AM

Bananen123

Sweden

17 posts since 5/7/2019

For example:

John Hardy
John Henry


Sally Ann
Sally Goodin


and of course..

Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Foggy Mountain Special
Foggy Mountain Chimes
Foggy Mountain Rock
Foggy Mountain Top

Jan 15, 2020 - 5:13:41 AM
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2025 posts since 12/31/2005

Earl didn't write or name the first four.  The "Foggy Mountain" instrumental names come from the name of the band ("Foggy Mountain Boys"), which came from the song "Foggy Mtn Top" by Carter Family. It was their original theme song.

Edited by - Brian Murphy on 01/15/2020 05:14:15

Jan 15, 2020 - 5:34:44 AM

Eric A

USA

346 posts since 10/15/2019
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Yes, those first four are old traditional tunes, Earl didn't write them. Then after their stint with the Bluegrass Boys, they took the Carter Family song "Foggy Mountain Top" as a theme song, and thus "The Foggy Mountain Boys".

Then from there, Bill Monroe had already set the pattern with a "Bluegrass Breakdown" a "Bluegrass Special", etc. I think there was a "Ramble" and a "Romp" in there somewhere. So when Lester and Earl got going they did the same. There's a lot more "inside baseball" to this story, but that is the gist of it.

This topic can be very touchy among hard headed bluegrass people, so I'm trying to tippy toe around the hard parts.  laugh

Edited by - Eric A on 01/15/2020 05:37:07

Jan 15, 2020 - 6:14:35 AM

Bananen123

Sweden

17 posts since 5/7/2019

Ah interesting, the more you know! I'm a total newb in this subject so excuse me for my ignorance

Jan 15, 2020 - 6:44:24 AM

hoodoo

Canada

607 posts since 10/6/2017

quote:
Originally posted by Bananen123

Ah interesting, the more you know! I'm a total newb in this subject so excuse me for my ignorance


John Hardy and John Henry are folk songs based on real people. John Henry was a railroad worker and John Hardy was accused of murder. Both titles often get mixed up for sure.

Jan 15, 2020 - 12:56:52 PM

12454 posts since 10/30/2008

There are many other old time tunes (fiddle tunes) with "Sally" in the title. Sally in the Garden, Cousin Sally Brown, etc.

"Foggy Mountain" was sort of like establishing a "brand", based on the old Carter Family song "Foggy Mountain Top", which as explained above, they adopted as the name of their band. Flatt & Scruggs also called their gospel quartets "The Foggy Mountain Quartet" in the early years.

Their first LP was titled "Foggy Mountain Jamboree".  Earl's great banjo music LP was titled "Foggy Mountain Banjo".

When Lester & Earl split up, in the settlement of the lawsuit/lawsuits was a provision that neither would use the "Foggy Mountain" brand any longer.   I wouldn't be surprised if Mrs. Scruggs had established a trademark on "Foggy Mountain".

Edited by - The Old Timer on 01/15/2020 13:00:30

Jan 15, 2020 - 1:18:52 PM
Players Union Member

KCJones

USA

601 posts since 8/30/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Eric A

 

 This topic can be very touchy among hard headed bluegrass people, so I'm trying to tippy toe around the hard parts.  laugh


It must be hard for these people to walk, what with carrying so much old baggage with them everywhere.

Spill the beans! Self-censorship is communism. Inquiring minds want to know. The truth will set you free. Etc, etc, etc. devil????

Jan 15, 2020 - 1:23:19 PM

Eric A

USA

346 posts since 10/15/2019
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by KCJones
quote:
Originally posted by Eric A

 

 This topic can be very touchy among hard headed bluegrass people, so I'm trying to tippy toe around the hard parts.  laugh


It must be hard for these people to walk, what with carrying so much old baggage with them everywhere.

Spill the beans! Self-censorship is communism. Inquiring minds want to know. The truth will set you free. Etc, etc, etc. devil????


Well it's about who stole from who, who wrote what but didn't get credit for it, and on and on.  I'm no expert, but if any experts want to dive in, let 'er rip.  I figured if I guessed at anything, someone would chime in right away and correct me.   Witness the recent thread about that new book and the controversy over Foggy Mountain Breakdown vs Blue Grass Breakdown.  Those were definitely the Wild, Wild, West days of intellectual property.

Edited by - Eric A on 01/15/2020 13:33:11

Jan 15, 2020 - 3:15:20 PM

12454 posts since 10/30/2008

Uh, there never was any "controversy" about Blue Grass Breakdown and Foggy Mountain Breakdown "back when". This has all been ginned up in recent decades, trying create a tempest from the teapot.

Basically, nobody used to care.

Tweaking existing tunes and renaming them is much older than bluegrass music.

Jan 15, 2020 - 3:54:31 PM

chuckv97

Canada

45731 posts since 10/5/2013

e.g., at 2:35 ,, Red Rooster = She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain

https://youtu.be/20z7w-dqp3k

Edited by - chuckv97 on 01/15/2020 15:56:43

Jan 16, 2020 - 7:37:02 AM
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beegee

USA

21422 posts since 7/6/2005

Heavy Traffic Ahead---Foggy Mt. Special

"Bluegrass Folks are a close family...they all know the same 12 songs."-unknown
"Play something we know, so we can tell if you're any good."-John Hartford

Jan 16, 2020 - 10:04:43 PM

376 posts since 5/29/2006

 

edied comment.

whoops, the t is missing.  no wait, here itt is.

Edited by - howbah on 01/16/2020 22:05:39

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